Good News for Diet Pill Supplement Users
Are you so fed up with all those stories about diet pill warnings that you are tempted to give up on dieting? Take heart as there may be some big changes about those diet pills and their safety.
It’s been a long time coming—the public is getting fed up with the diet supplement industry and the inherent dangers of taking supplements for weight loss and other health issues due to a lack of government regulation on their efficacy and safety.
According to a recent announcement by Consumer Affairs, four groups focused on obesity research, treatment, and prevention say that government regulators need to take a tougher line on dietary supplements and enact reforms that will make supplements safe. This demand for action follows the recent news report one week ago that attributed 20,000 emergency room visits each year to dietary supplements.
The biggest action supporters of supplement reform are requesting is that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) are provided with more funds to tackle consumer protection of dietary supplements and the legal authority to regulate how supplements are made, scientifically tested and marketed to consumers. Currently, both agencies can only enforce how supplements are labeled, but not manufactured.
The recommendations listed by the groups include that Healthcare providers should:
• Be aware of the lack of credible evidence for efficacy and safety of many supplements promoted for the purpose of weight loss.
• Query patients who desire to accomplish weight loss regarding their use of dietary supplements for this purpose.
• Advise patients who desire to accomplish weight loss of the limited evidence supporting the efficacy and safety of many supplements and the lack of oversight by government agencies regarding the claims made about such supplements.
• Be educated on the DSHEA and the roles of FDA and FTC in safety and claims monitoring of supplements promoted for the purpose of weight loss.
What is particularly interesting is that they are also recommending that a type of–for lack of better words what might be termed as a “Dr. Oz clause,” that Healthcare providers be strongly discouraged from engaging in entrepreneurial activities in which they directly profit from the prescribing of non-FDA approved weight-loss remedies where both safety and efficacy have not been proven.
According to Consumer Affairs, the groups are demanding that, “All publicly available dietary supplements sold or advertised for weight loss should have randomized, double blinded, placebo-controlled studies of sufficient duration to support both safety and claimed efficacy.”
Consumer Affairs also quotes Steven R. Smith, MD, The Obesity Society (TOS) past-president and Chief Scientific Officer at Florida Hospital in Orlando as supporting this reform. “While we acknowledge that there may be effective dietary supplements on the market, there is a clear need for long-term data showing the benefits, safety and effectiveness for these unregulated treatments claiming weight management.”
However, we can expect that the move to do more about dietary supplements will not be an easy battle. With a reported 30% or more of American adults taking dietary supplements for weight loss at an estimated $2 billion a year business, we can expect many supplement makers will fight this reform.
For more about dietary supplement safety, here are some recent supplement warnings issued by the FDA:
Consumer Affairs “Obesity groups call for regulation of weight-loss supplements”
The Obesity Society: “Dietary Supplements Sold as Medicinal or Curative for Obesity” Position Statement